Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch – The Eunuch’s Ignorance

Acts 8:30 says, “So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’

I love this.  Philip ran to him.  God said go, and he didn’t casually walk over there.  He ran.  And what did he find?  He “heard Him reading Isaiah the prophet“.  Based on what we’ve read in Isaiah, there is no more apt a passage of scripture for him to be reading than this one here.  In that time, it was common for people to read aloud, and that is why Philip “heard” it.  It was just a very “lucky” situation.

Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (v30).

Verse 31: “And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’  And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.'”  How indeed?  To us, we can look back at Isaiah 53 and clearly see that this passage is about Jesus.  How?  We know Him.  He has revealed Himself to us in Holy Scripture.

I heard a pastor give a clever illustration about this concept.  Do you remember the game, “Where’s Waldo?”  It’s a collection of drawings in which there is a funny looking guy, with Harry Potter eye glasses and a silly striped hat, hiding somewhere and you have to pick him out of a messy scene filled with hundreds of other people, often wearing similar clothing.  If you don’t know what he looks like, you will never find him.  If you some kind of idea, you might find him.  But if you know him very well, he will catch your eye.

This is the Waldo Principle of hermaneutics (not really).  We clearly find Jesus in Isaiah 53 because we know Him.  The Ethiopian Eunuch did not know Jesus, and therefore, didn’t understand what he was reading.  He was completely reliant on Philip’s exposition of the text.

There are people out there that know not Jesus, that know not their need for a Savior, that know not what He has done to buy that salvation for perhaps them, and they, by the sovereign grace of God, need people like you and me to explain it to them.  People cannot come to Jesus Christ without people like Philip, like you, and like me explaining to them what in the world is going on.  Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. 

So, how can this verse encourage us?  We need to get out there!  We need to run!  And we need to explain the gospel of Jesus Christ to people, because that is the way that God has sovereignly ordained that His people are found.  And how can we not?  How can we not be thrilled to explain to others that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for the sins of many like you and me?

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